The Emperor may not have any clothes, but that is old news.
We are more like the child these days, willing to point that out, to not be afraid to say that we cannot see any clothes. And to realise the truth of it.
But even more than that - none of us have any clothes. We are all naked. But this, we are not admitting.
We are naked, and ashamed of it, and still trying to hide it.
Since being in a relationship where, for the first time, I feel my partner genuinely wants to give me the freedom to be who I am, I have realised this more than ever.
Perhaps I could have got there on my own. But having someone else see my nakedness in every form, acknowledge it, and encourage it - it is transformative.
He doesn’t want to change me - actually wants me to become more myself. He is an advocate for my change and growth, instead of fearing it.
Others have, or would only accept me if I stayed the same. Or at least only changed in pre-approved ways, sticking to the confines on the narrow track of what is an acceptable path to tread.
Even ‘cutting edge fashion’ is still the fashion.
But if I meander, if I turn in circles, just looking around instead of achieving, if I leave the track completely and wander naked through the woods for a bit admitting I don't know what I'm doing - Ollie would wander with me.
His total acceptance of my vulnerability, free from shame, has helped me see my own self more clearly. Has helped me embrace my nakedness rather than hide it.
I don’t want to ‘get dressed.’ I want a life where I never have to settle down and ‘be responsible now’, put on the grown up, serious clothes.
That is not me - in truth, it shouldn’t really be anyone. But it is ingrained into the social psyche, and so it is most people.
The world we deeply long for doesn’t quite exist yet. And so it is inevitable that those who begin to see that the Emperor is naked, and so are we, will find life a struggle at times. It is inevitable we will find ourselves never quite fitting in.
And so we hide ourselves, for fear of being thought of as crazy. In fact, what we know is truth we even begin to doubt, and begin to wonder if maybe we are just crazy.
I spent so long fearing the reaches of my own mind, fearing mental illness, fearing not being ‘normal’, that I shut down so many parts of myself to appear as someone who will fit in and be accepted.
But so much energy goes into constructing those roles, the image of someone ‘acceptable’ — even as I tried to break out and become ‘alternative’, I was still trying to be an ‘acceptable alternative’, still trying to fit into pre-defined roles.
Still trying to appear as if I was wearing the right clothes, and ignore the truth that was too frightening.
None of those roles fit. None of those ‘outfits’ fit.
And so I drifted between them, naked and ashamed of it, hiding myself because I couldn’t not face it.
My body, my face, my mind, my spirit - all reflected the manifested shame. In the absence of socially acceptable ‘clothing’ that fits, I instead clothed myself in shame to hide my nakedness.
If nothing else fits, we hide ourselves away under the only other label available to us - Ashamed.
As if who we are is not enough.
BUT WE ARE ALL NAKED.
And most of us are trying to cover that fact.
Some find ‘clothing’ that fits better than others, labels to hide their vulnerability. For a time.
Others can’t find anything that fits at all.
So they either wear the ill-fitting labels and suffocate in them; or, like me, they take the shame of being naked and hide in it; or they emphasise their nakedness to cover their fear. Trying to rebel against shame and assert their right to be here. But still feeling like the only one.
Until we all take a look around, until we are all willing to admit we are ALL naked, we will go on covering ourselves in shame and labels that keep us distanced from each other.
While we continue to pretend it’s not the truth - that under everything we try to project about ourselves, we are actually all equally naked - we will always be hindered. We will always be trying to prove something, hide something, achieve something, in place of actually living fully.
It is liberating to admit it. To shed the shame and realise we are all in this together.
I am naked. You are naked. The Emperor has no clothes, and neither do we.
The sooner we admit it, the sooner we will be free.